By Wilhelm Crous
May 8, 2024

According to Korn Ferry’s “Future of Work” findings, the value of the global skills gap by 2030 will be around $8.5 trillion, equivalent to the combined economies of the UK and Germany. Technological changes, including the rollout of AI, are partly responsible for this skills shortage. However, if utilised effectively, AI can accelerate learning and development.

Chrysanthos Dellarocas highlighted in a Harvard Business Review article how generative AI can have a significant impact on skills development:

  1. Personalised Learning Pathways
    The need for personalised pathways has been widely recognised, but moving away from a more generalised approach has been challenging. Generative AI platforms will change that. For instance, sales professionals might receive interactive modules focusing on advanced communication techniques, tailored to their specific work history, learning pace, and style.
  2. Continuous Content Evolution
    Learning and development content risks becoming outdated quickly, especially in today’s rapidly changing environment. Generative AI technologies can continuously update and adapt training materials. For example, in a legal training program, AI could integrate the latest case law and regulatory changes.
  3. Immersive Simulation Scenarios
    Training simulations often lack variety and realism. Generative AI can create highly realistic, varied simulations that respond dynamically to user decisions. This can benefit high-level professions such as emergency response. In medical training, simulations could replicate rare, complex cases, allowing healthcare professionals to practice diagnostic and treatment skills in a risk-free environment.
  4. Addressing Skill Gaps
    Generative AI tools can provide a dynamic solution by continuously analysing user interactions and performance to identify and address skill gaps promptly. For example, by analysing project outcome data, AI could detect a need for improved project management skills and recommend specific training or simulations.
  5. Mentorship and Feedback
    Conventional learning and development methods often lack real-time feedback mechanisms. Generative AI systems can offer a more interactive and responsive approach. In technical fields, learners could receive step-by-step guidance through complex processes, engaging with AI mentors to ask questions and receive personalised insights at every step. This process mimics the benefits of one-on-one mentorship.

Challenges and Considerations

Despite the potential of AI, the following challenges and considerations should be addressed:

  • Data Privacy: These systems may include and rely on employees’ performance metrics, learning preferences, and personal characteristics. Ensuring compliance with data protection regulations is crucial.
  • Oversight: Current AI technologies are not immune to errors. Monitoring, validation, and oversight of AI outputs will remain important.
  • Biases: There is an ongoing risk of perpetuating biases in existing data. Governance, which might involve ethics committees and investment in AI literacy and awareness programs, could help address this.

Generative AI offers exciting opportunities to close existing and future skills gaps. Learning and development departments should not wait for this technology to mature but should be early adopters, experimenting, learning, and understanding its potential in their field.

The upcoming Learning and Development Conference from 4 – 6 June is the perfect opportunity to delve deeper into these trends and challenges. Attendees will gain valuable insights into how generative AI can transform employee learning and development strategies during the pre-conference workshop: AI in L&D Workshop 2024 as well as the two-day conference.

The conference provides a unique platform to network with industry experts, participate in valuable discussions, and explore innovative tools that will prepare you to harness the full potential of AI in your organisation. For more information or to register CLICK HERE.

Reference:

Dellarocas, C. (2023). How GenAI Could Accelerate Employee Learning and Development. Harvard Business Review, 8 December.